Throwback Thursday to an interview with The Suicide Machines! We took a look through the archives of San Diego Punk to bring you throwback interviews and reviews from our history. Today we picked an interview with The Suicide Machines from the early 2000s. You can see The Suicide Machines, Left Alone, and The Bombpops at The Irenic this Saturday October 29th!
Original interview by Matt Pierce
Past interviews I have done have never ended up like this one. Jay, the singer of the Suicide Machines, is such a cool guy, we ended up talking about random stuff and I ended up asking him half the questions I originally intended to. This is not an interview, this is a typed conversation. Enjoy.
San Diego Punk: So has this tour been pretty fun so far?
Jay: Yeah it’s been pretty fun, because we have our friends in The Unseen, but, I mean, I am straight. But it has still been pretty fun. Last night was crazy though.
San Diego Punk: What happened last night?
Jay: I left around 8:00, all I know is people didn’t get back till around 10 in the morning. Our record label is in LA, they started drinking about 2 or 3 in the afternoon, went out till 10 in the morning. So that’s all I know. I went to bed early because I was getting sick and I was stoked to get some sleep for once. My party was peanut butter bread, grandma’s cookies and milk, and watching Conan O’Brian. Sorry not very glamorous.
San Diego Punk: That’s awesome, would you consider yourself straight edge then?
Jay: Well, kinda, yeah, I don’t walk around with Xs on my hand. I mean, I am not knocking those people either, I am, just me.
San Diego Punk: Yeah, it seems Efrem from Death by Stereo and Jack Grisham could probably instigate some stuff!
Jay: Yeah, they are really cool! They all have stories behind them but are all super great guys. I am waiting for something to happen, but nothing has happened yet.
San Diego Punk: What about Warped Tour, was that crazy at all?
Jay: Warped Tour, I wasn’t a big fan of this year’s Warped Tour, not the tour itself, but it was very cliquey. Where as, the other years I have done it, everyone has hung out and partied. It seems like; the younger bands are too scared to hang out with the older bands. We tried to break the ice many times and get them to see, hey it’s cool, come hang out with us. A perfect example is The All-American Rejects. We walked up to their bus, and we were like, come to our bus for a second. They were totally freaked out and kept saying, ‘What? Why? What are we doing?’ I am just like, ‘Follow me. Get your crew, come here.’ They kept asking questions and I just kept insisting, come here, don’t worry, you won’t get hurt, too much. So we brought them on our bus, and as soon as they got on our bus, we put on Slayer and we started jumping around and attacking them. We did a huge metal guy mosh pit, jumping around our bus, we jumped off tables and destroyed the place, that’s how we were breaking the ice. I also remember, the guitar player for Andrew WK was walking by, I am like, come here, he walks on our bus, and he has a beer in his hand. I take the beer out of his hand and sit it down, he is like, ‘Why are you taking away my beer?’ I am just like, ‘Come on.’ Then we put on like, Mastodon and started going crazy. He tells me, ‘I love you guys man!’ That’s how we were breaking the ice. Some other bands got the mosh, I can’t think who else.
San Diego Punk: It seems it would be hard to join this huge tour, with big bands like you and pennywise, and previous years with NOFX and Bad Religion. I think it would be a bit frightening for any new band. A lot of bands are almost legends on that tour. You guys are the legends of ska.
Jay: That’s a weird thought.
San Diego Punk: You have to admit; Destruction by Definition is one of the best albums ever written.
Jay: Yeah I guess that’s what they are saying. I think our new record surpasses every record we have ever written. Destruction is one of my favorites, but this one surpasses Destruction to me.
San Diego Punk: The more I listen to the new record (A Match and Some Gasoline), the more I like it.
Jay: I think people are a little scared by it because it is a bit more serious. So I think people are a little scared
to grasp it because they don’t want to think about things. They want to have a good time and forget about what’s going on. And that’s cool, so do I, I love to do that, but all in all I am really happy with this new record.
San Diego Punk: I like the new record, what songs will you be playing off of it tonight?
Jay: Tonight, possibly “Your Silence”, “High Anxiety”, “Did You Ever Get a Feeling of Dread”, “Burning in the Aftermath.”
San Diego Punk: I will be honest with you, I know hardly any of the names of your songs, because I listen to your records straight through, I never skip around, so I really don’t know the names.
Jay: That’s cool, all of my favorite bands I never knew the names of their songs; I don’t even know half the names to my own songs.
San Diego Punk: Yeah, song number 10 on your new CD is good.
Jay: Yeah, uhhh, “Seized Up.”
San Diego Punk: That’s a very good song.
Jay: Thank you.
San Diego Punk: It would be cool if you played it.
Jay: Nah, no one likes to play that song. It bums me out.
San Diego Punk: It seems everyone had a fun time recording it. At the end of the song everyone sounds drunk and they are singing the chorus.
Jay: Yeah I called everyone; you need to come in and sing the chorus with us! They all came in and did it, it was funny, it was more of us just laughing our asses off. Rich and Brian were pretty loaded. And I was straight as can be, it was fun though. I think one of the reasons I like that song so much is because it really makes me think about Detroit a lot. I listened to the song after I was done with it, and almost got lucky and painted a picture with it. I think people can listen to that song and go, I wonder if Detroit is really like this. And then go to Detroit and go, yeah it is kinda like this. Hopefully that’s what happened.
San Diego Punk: I think most people think of 8 Mile when they think of Detroit now.
Jay: Yeah I live on 12 Mile.
San Diego Punk: Is there a lot of controversy when you guys writesong?
Jay: When we had Royce in the band it was a big controversy. He likes pop music and would always write pop songs.
San Diego Punk: And this was during the Self Titled and Steal This Record days, correct?
Jay: Yeah even Steal This Record was on its way to being good, but he kept bitching about his pop songs. But we are fair guys so.
San Diego Punk: I still think there are good songs off of each record. Do you like those two records?
Jay: No, I don’t even like Battle Hymns.
San Diego Punk: You don’t like that CD period?
Jay: No I don’t like any of those CDs.
San Diego Punk: Yeah well during the Steal This Record and Self Titled days, I will be honest, a lot of people forgot about you guys because the records weren’t as good. But I think Warped Tour definitely revitalized everyone’s love for you guys. Just by doing the Braveheart at Warped Tour, even fans not of your music loved that creativeness and energy.
Jay: Yeah I can’t do the Braveheart tonight; I only save that for special occasions. I have a bunch of other stuff though. I got water bursts, which is basically named after a nuclear bomb test. It’s where everyone gathers up in the center, and at the beginning of the song, everyone scatters, so it has ripples. It looks like a water burst from the stage.
San Diego Punk: Yeah I have seen other bands do the Braveheart, the first time I saw it was from Sick of it All.
Jay: Yeah I learned it from Sick of it All. Yeah I cannot claim the fame for Braveheart. They taught me everything. I thought that kids on the Warped Tour needed a little kick in the pants because it was pop punker hell. They need to know punk rock isn’t the safest thing. I know it sounds gross and a lot of people hate my view on that one. They just need to know punk rock isn’t safe. I grew up in a way different era than most people grew up in. Like when I would go to a show, thank God it isn’t like this anymore, but you would go to the sketchiest part of town, you are wondering if you are going to get the shit kicked out of you or if someone is going to pull a gun on you. Then going to see the craziest band like DI. To grow up around that and to grow up now, I am glad it’s like this now. Warped Tour, man I knew the kids needed something, so I just went for it. Sick of it All are my homeboys and one of my favorite bands of all time.
San Diego Punk: Another great part of Warped here in San Diego is when you had the pit go over to the other stage and start over in Pennywise’s pit.
Jay: Yeah! Whoever is over there is going to get demolished! The best part is Pennywise loves us, and Fletcher loves us because he knows we incite mayhem. I know this is sick but we had the fans destroy an ice cream truck in New York City. This truck was selling like five-dollar ice cream, and they did it. It wasn’t an independent company; there were these ice cream trucks that followed the Warped Tour on the East Coast. I asked them, “Do you want to wall of death Rancid’s crowd, or do you want to go get some ice cream?” Everyone yelled, ‘ICE CREAM!’ I am like, uh oh, I am not telling you what to do, I am saying do as you please. So we started and everyone ran over there, the whole time I saw ice cream being thrown and during the last three song kids were diving off of it. They demolished this truck, ripped off the muffler, kicked in the windows. We only have half an hour on the Warped Tour, and this took place during out last three songs.
San Diego Punk: How about tonight, are you only going to be playing half an hour?
Jay: Maybe 45 minutes or 50, T.S.O.L. is pretty cool with letting us play longer. I am a little trashed, I went skating in the desert three days ago so, last night in LA my voice was squeaky.
San Diego Punk: When you guys wrote the Vans song, did you get any recognition from Vans or anything at all?
Jay: Not really, its weird you mentioned that because we were just discussing that. Plus Vans put on this tour. But I love my friend Kurt, he works for Vans, I met him on the Warped Tour in ’97. He never even knew we had the Vans song. And we met him and he was like, ‘Hey I like you, I will sponsor you.’ Then afterwards I gave him our record and he listened to the Vans song and was like, ‘Whoa, a Vans song!’ And that’s pretty much it. And what that song was at the time was, well, me and Dan, we were punks; we all wore Doc Martin boots. Then grunge came in, and took our fashion of wearing boots. Then of course all of the jocks at our school started wearing them. So then Dan wrote the Vans song, and I was laughing my ass off. I told him I like Sound Garden, he was like, so do I, but fuck it!
San Diego Punk: So Doc martin didn’t do anything about that song?
Jay: No, I think if you really look at the lyrics of the song it has more to do with the trend of things, not particular things in general. It’s a stupid song, it’s funny.
San Diego Punk: Will you be playing that song tonight?
Jay: Nah I think its overkill. I don’t think we will ever play that song again to be honest with you. We are concentrating more on our new album.
San Diego Punk: So does Vans hook you up with shoes?
San Diego Punk: So in a way it’s kinda like being sponsored?
Jay: Well, usually he will give all these guys one or two pairs, but he knows I skate so he give me five or six pairs.
San Diego Punk: Yeah I can tell song number three on your new CD is a hardcore skate song.
Jay: Yeah you can tell I wrote that song.
San Diego Punk: You any good at skating?
Jay: Yeah I can huck myself down through some shit or pull some big airs. I can still 360 flip. I can still hang with the young kids. I am 30 and I can still get some young kids giving me some props going, ‘All right old man!’ And I can still show the little kids some moves. I am still entering contests from time to time.
San Diego Punk: Your latest record, could I be right in saying it is a protest record?
Jay: Um, I think it is more of a time capsule for right now in the World. Like when people look back on a Dead Kennedy’s record on the Regan era, people go, damn, that’s fucked up. So it’s more of an awareness record.
San Diego Punk: Alright, thanks man, that’s all the questions I have.
Jay: Right on, don’t miss Death by Stereo!